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    Start program keeps Great Lakes strong, Sailors connected



    Courtesy Story

    Naval Station Great Lakes Public Affairs

    Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Nick Scott

    GREAT LAKES, Ill. (August 4, 2020) -- The Chaplains Religious Enrichment Development Operation at Naval Station Great Lakes plans to test run the LivingWorks Start program throughout August at Naval Station Great Lakes.

    Start is a new suicide prevention program where participants take a 60- to 90-minute online class that can be completed from a home computer. The program teaches students to recognize the signs of suicide and helps to make a personal connection meant to prevent it.

    CREDO provided funding for an initial training phase made up of 25 volunteers who will be certified in suicide prevention. If successful, more volunteers could be sought in the future.

    LivingWorks are the creators of Start and several other Sailor help programs currently in use by the U.S. Navy such as ASIST, SafeTalk and SuicideTalk.

    “These programs are designed to build a suicide-safer community by providing Sailors with the awareness and skills that help to save lives,” said Religious Program Specialist 1st Class Austin Sims, leading petty officer, religious ministries department.

    “LivingWorks Start teaches Sailors to recognize when someone is thinking about suicide and connect them to help and support,” said Sims.

    “This is meant to help any of our Sailors who are under unique stresses because of social distancing, teleworking, social isolation, these are contributing factors to thoughts of self-harm,” said Cmdr. John A. Carter, command chaplain for Naval Station Great Lakes and the officer-in-charge of testing the Start program.

    Each LivingWorks Start user receives the same core information and skills training along with additional custom content depending on variables such as background, location and needs.

    “Many times Sailors are not aware of all of the resources the Navy makes available to them,” said Carter.

    Carter stated that the program embodies making Great Lakes stronger by connecting Sailors to any help they may need.

    LivingWorks Start was developed with input from experts in suicide prevention, education, psychology, public health, social work, faith communities and the military.

    “[LivingWorks] is something that is appropriate for all hands, but is usually centered around a face-to-face type of training,” said Carter. “Because of the COVID crisis, [LivingWorks] created this online suicide awareness training program.”

    Carter said that this is a trial run to make certain the program is right for Great Lakes.

    “Initially, we want to focus on workplace supervisors, [leadership] or anyone who might be the first to notice an at-risk Sailor,” said Carter.

    Carter stated that they hope to roll the program out to anyone interested in the future and that we need to stay vigilant and communicate with Sailors during the pandemic, when stress factors can seem overwhelming to some.

    “In this difficult time, people are struggling with increased stress and anxiety. Suicide intervention and prevention skills are needed now more than ever,” said Sims. “Please seize this opportunity to learn something new and potentially save a life of a shipmate or a loved one.”

    For additional questions or information about suicide prevention or the Start program, please contact the Naval Station Great Lakes Chaplain’s Office.

    For more news from Naval Station Great Lakes, visit or



    Date Taken: 08.04.2020
    Date Posted: 08.04.2020 11:43
    Story ID: 375247
    Location: GREAT LAKES, IL, US 

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